The Westfield FFA cup round of 32 draw has thrown up some intriguing encounters and none more so than the clash between Melbourne Victory and Balmain Tigers.
In the ultimate ‘David versus Goliath’ battle, Tigers - from NSW’s third-tier - will host reigning Hyundai A-League Champions Victory for a spot in the last 16.
Balmain are the lowest ranked side in the round of 32, currently sitting seventh in NSW’s State League 1 competition.
But despite drawing the toughest possible match-up, Tigers captain Tom Hyde admitted his side was thrilled with the opportunity to tackle Hyundai A-League opposition.
“The boys are obviously delighted,” Hyde told theffacup.com.au.
The squad's reaction when we learnt our opponents in the draw.....#magicofthecup #ffacupPosted by Balmain Tigers Football Club on Wednesday, July 1, 2015
“Once we watched the draw progress obviously as the numbers dissipated we realised we were in with a chance (of drawing A-League opposition).
“There was a bit of a delay, the last member association team was drawn out and there was a bit of a pause and we realised we were one of the four balls left in and that was when the place just went bananas and erupted.”
Ironically, it was former Socceroo Michael Beauchamp – whose Bankstown City outfit succumbed to the Tigers in qualifying - who drew the dream match-up.
“We got drawn at home and then Michael Beauchamp pulled out Melbourne Victory so we definitely owe him a few thanks when we see him,” Hyde said.
The exact date and venue for the match will be announced on Friday but Hyde is hopeful the club will be able to take the clash to their spiritual home, Leichardt Oval.
“We’ve made some enquiries and it looks like Leichardt Oval will be first choice, the alternative is probably Lambert Park where we use to play at home a couple of seasons ago,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s either one of those as it will be really nice to get back there and hopefully get some old Balmain Tigers fans down.”
The Tigers beat Glenmore Park, North Epping Rangers and Bankstown City Lions before sealing their spot in the Round of 32 with a 3-0 win over Western NSW Mariners.
Hyde said the club - which won the State League Division 1 title in 2013 – would look to use the clash as a springboard to future success.
“The guys are so excited at being able to test themselves against potentially the best team and the best players in the country,” he said.
“But I think on a bigger scale it’s going to be amazing for the club, to give us a platform and the exposure to really push Balmain Tigers forward.
“We’re a really small club run by a couple of really dedicated individuals. To be able to get some exposure on the national stage – already our new Twitter account is going crazy – it's amazing to see.”
The defender is under no illusion of the monumental challenge facing his side but insists the club will make it as difficult as possible for the A-League giants.
“We’re not kidding ourselves, on paper they’re going to be very strong. Man for man they have better players than us but if we can keep the game tight then they might start to get a little bit nervous as the game goes on,” he said.
“It was almost poetic that the best team was drawn against the lowest ranked and that’s the beauty of this Cup competition. We’re delighted to be able to test ourselves against an A-League club.
“Do we have a chance? Absolutely! It’s eleven versus eleven, it’s a Cup. The odds are absolutely against our favour but that’s also the magic of the Cup.”